Monday, October 17, 2011

Wonderful San Francisco Rosary Rally!

From this morning's California Catholic Daily. All photos courtesy Darwin Sayo.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
California Catholics honor Blessed Mother at San Francisco Family Rosary Crusade

"Under 70-degree weather and soft breezes, the San Francisco Family Rosary Crusade was prayed on Saturday, Oct. 15, in the city’s Civic Center Plaza. The crowd, numbering in the low thousands, included the faithful from every diocese in the Bay Area, as well as the dioceses of Stockton, Sacramento, and Fresno.

Too many parishes to count were represented. One of the largest groups, around 50, came from Immaculate Heart of Brentwood, and had special T-shirts printed for the occasion. The pilgrims were led by their pastor, Fr. Jerry Brown, and parochial vicar, Fr. Carl Arcosa.The rally also attracted visitors from as far away as Idaho, Ireland, Eastern Europe, and Africa, who had one way or another learned about the rally, and who joined in the opportunity to honor Our Lady.

Religious were very well represented. Many Dominicans, Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist, and the Missionaries of Charity had large contingents. Franciscans, Jesuits, Holy Cross Fathers, and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians were present as well, as were large numbers of seminarians.

The event began with a procession from the rear of the Plaza toward the stage. The crowd filling the central portion of the Plaza parted, like the Red Sea, to allow the procession of dignitaries, rally leaders, and the families chosen to recite the rosary. The procession was led by two boys carrying the banner of the Legion of Mary, followed by the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.

The Master of Ceremonies was Fr. Lawrence Goode, chaplain of the Legion of Mary. Fr. Goode began by asking for a show of hands from those who had attended the 1961 Rally. A surprising number went up. He then asked for a response from those who came from the diocese of Oakland. A cheer went up. Then San Jose. Another cheer. Then Santa Rosa. Another cheer. Then Stockton. Another cheer. Then Sacramento. Another cheer. Then Fresno. Another cheer. Then the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Another big cheer.

Fr. Goode then introduced the bishops in attendance: Auxiliary Bishop William Justice of San Francisco, retired Bishop Ignatius Wang of San Francisco, and retired Bishop Daniel Walsh of Santa Rosa.Bishop Justice then spoke. He sent greetings from Archbishop George Niederauer, whose health prevented him from attending. Bishop Justice then read from Romans, Chapter 8, reminding the faithful that it is through Jesus that we have life, that God works all things to good, and that “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Fr. Goode then introduced the rosary as a prayer for all peoples and all times. “It is pre-Vatican II and it is post Vatican II,” he said. “It was the prayer of Nobel Prize winning scientist Louis Pasteur. It was the prayer of ‘people power’ that peacefully overturned the corrupt government in the Philippines. It was the prayer of both Italy and Poland following the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. And it is the prayer of Chinese Catholics today, imprisoned for their faith, and who make rosaries out of yarn and paper!”

As silence descended on the plaza, the rosary began. Each decade was recited by a family from one of the Bay Area dioceses. The decades were accompanied by a scriptural reading by a seminarian, and a reflection by either a Dominican Brother or a Holy Cross Father.One of the Holy Cross Fathers reflected on Mary as one who listens: “When others speak, she ponders their words in her heart. But when she does speak, she sings!”

The rosary was followed by the keynote address by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR; the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, led by Bishop Ignatius Wang, and the prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God, Fr. Patrick Peyton, led by Fr. David Marcham, vice-postulator for Fr. Peyton’s cause. In a notable coincidence, Fr. Apostoli is also currently serving as a vice-postulator for the cause of canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

“The Rosary Rally will be one day that we can be forever proud to have been part of,” said David Marten, one of the rally organizers. “The hard work and planning produced a flawless presentation. The Blessed Mother was watching over us and many graces were present.”

Many attendees expressed the hope that the San Francisco Rosary Rally will become an annual event in the city of St. Francis.

“Our blessings are beyond count,” said Eva Muntean, co-chair of the Walk for Life West Coast, who helped organizers. “Today has been a wonderful opportunity for all of us to give thanks, publicly, for the graces we have received.”

“What a beautiful witness to Our Lady and what great faith it shows,” said Vicki Evans, Respect Life Coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco. “I see this as a sign of our faith that Mary will save San Francisco and our country from the dangers that threaten us.”

Despite generous contributions, organizers were still about $10,000 in debt as the day began. When the rally closed, they requested donations from the faithful. That evening, when they tabulated the donations, they received a final gift from Our Lady: the donations were almost exactly the amount needed -- and even a little more."

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